Feb 222012

I needed a picture to be sized to specific dimensions for use in website’s header. The website instructions were clear, the image needed to be 960 pixels wide and 280 pixels high.  How can that be accomplished with Picasa?  The same process applies to printed dimensions, you just need to divide the pixels by the printed dots per inch.  So a 1200 pixel picture, printed at 300/inch is 4 inches.

There are 2 steps required.  First I cropped the picture to the appropriate ratio, then export the picture and resize the export to 960 pixels.

The Export Size

As I’ve discussed in previous articles, the option that allows you to resize a picture is found on Export command.  Select a picture, click the Export button, and one of the settings available is Export Size.


But, you’ll notice that you can only specify one dimension.  If I type 960 into the image size setting, I know the longest side of the picture will be 960 pixels, but what about the other side?  Picasa will not distort your picture, so it can only allow you to specify one edge to resize, then it calculates the other edge based on the aspect ratio of your picture.

Cropping and Aspect Ratio

The other side of the picture will be sized according to it’s ratio to the longest side.  For example, if your picture is a perfect square, the two sides are equal, so your picture will be 960X960.  How do you get a perfect square?  By cropping.

Note that it doesn’t matter if you’ve cropped a small square or a big square because it’s in the second step when you specify the final size.  When you specify 960 for the longest side, you will automatically get a picture that is 960X960 if it’s ‘aspect ratio’ is a square.

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If your picture is sized appropriately for an 8X10 print, then the second side will equal 8/10ths of the longest side, or 960*.8=768.  Don’t worry if the math escapes you, Picasa makes it easy by allowing you to add a ‘Custom Aspect Ratio.’

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So now, with my Custom Aspect Ratio of 960X280 I can crop my picture, then export it to a size of 960 and be assured that the second side will be 280 – just like the website ordered!

Geeks on Tour Members can watch a video: Resizing Pictures to Width and Height, that goes thru all of the steps and shows the end result.  The video also shows how to delete the custom aspect ratio.

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